Not many writers compose laments or lamentations in 2015. Perhaps we need some. There is no specific metrical form for a lament, no rhyme scheme; there are no rules. How would one know when one has written one? A lament is meant to be sung or declaimed, and even though we listen to many singers and even though we hear too many speech-makers, the poetry that most of us encounter is read silently, nodded at, and then forgotten after the encounter. Too often, Americans seem to think of poetry as bloodless, intellectual.
A lament is an expression of grief captured in the moment or as close to the moment as it can be caught. Those who were left behind, those who do not want to imagine one more moment continuing to live on as someone left behind, they sing laments. As non-subtle as our culture can often be, “get over it” is just as often a guiding outlook. For most of us, life rarely if ever brings us to experiences so sad we proclaim we will never cease mourning, and when we do, we try to cheer each other up. Lamentations present meaning in mourning. We don’t often linger there long enough for meaning to germinate.